Apple has just thrown a huge amount of investment money at Gorilla Glass manufacturer Corning. The smartphone maker has given the glass maker a rather solid $45 million cash injection, in order to “…drive research and development into innovative new technologies that support durability and long-lasting product life.”
It’s not like Apple doesn’t have the money. The investment in Corning Incorporated came from the tech company’s Advanced Manufacturing Fund, which contains a rather colossal $5 billion. And this isn’t the only money the Gorilla Glass maker has received. In the past four years, Apple has sent $450 million in Corning’s direction, a sign of how much the company values the glass it makes. Corning used those funds to create Apple’s Ceramic Shield panels, used to protect its newest mobile devices.
Ceramic Shield, according to Apple, “…was enabled by a high-temperature crystallization step which forms nano-crystals within the glass matrix. Those specialized crystals are kept small enough that the material is transparent.” Previously, those crystals would have an effect on glass transparency, making them unsuitable for Apple’s aims. This just goes to show that sometimes throwing enough money at a problem makes it go away.
This isn’t Apple merely cosying up to a new friend, either. Corning has been the company’s glass supplier ever since the very first iPhone, which launched with the first iteration of Gorilla Glass on its front. It’s been speculated that Apple’s new investment could be used to further development of a flexible glass, which would lend itself to that folding smartphone Apple is supposedly building. But, obviously, that’s not confirmed as yet.